Human-lion conflict (HLC) is a complicated problem with a variety of different manifestations and outcomes. The most serious is when human lives are directly threatened by lions. From both a human safety and sustainable conservation standpoint such events need to be prevented whenever possible, but do still occur.
Helge Denker has been traveling through northwest Namibia for years and has a keen insight into the challenges of HLC. Recently, he and his wife, Irene, had a harrowing encounter with a desert-adapted male lion, known by the research identifier XPL-115. Denker provides a gripping account of this encounter, as well as a balanced portrayal of the challenges of HLC. His recent piece provides a good primer for those unacquainted with the issues facing farmers in the area, as well as the tourism industry, and the region’s lions. Denker is to be commended for his balanced account even after the trying experience.
Due to this and other events in the area the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism took the decision to have this male translocated to the private wildlife sanctuary N/a’ankusê. Their experienced team, who have assisted with other translocations from the area, continue to do a great job supporting the desert-adapted lions when no alternative but their removal is viable.
Free-ranging lions in northwest Namibia survive alongside people on unfenced communal land. In this relatively uncontrolled area, neither the Lion Rangers, researchers, nor government can monitor all human-lion interactions. The responsibility falls to every individual to act with their own safety and the safety and wellbeing of the wildlife in mind. Thanks to Denker for his account, and for all the staff involved in the safe removal of this male lion.